“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5–6)
I miss the Sabbath. As a family we spent the first decade of our lives and ministry in Israel. The Sabbath was a regular occurrence that was “forced” upon us. At first we resisted it, partly because of our nature and because we didn’t understand it. Each Friday afternoon everything shut down, including the buses and the corner stores, and stayed closed until Saturday at sundown.
For us, the Sabbath became what it was meant to be, a day of rest and enjoyment of our creator and our family. We took long walks through the orange groves, played games, and savoured an afternoon nap. It became an intentional habit that helped us focus on God and to grow spiritually—a “rule of life.”
Since we came back home in 1995, life has sped up considerably. I have been on a tread mill for too long. At times, I react way over the top and wonder, “Where did that come from?” My days are filled and overflowing. I often buy into the lie that this is the way to be productive.
One of my professors at Tyndale College has been in our faces about this over the last couple of years. At first, I found his concepts a bit odd and I brushed them off. He talked about the Jesuit and Benedictine monks. He referred to “the daily office,” (a series of morning, noon, supper and bedtime prayers) and “rules of life.” I had left the organized liturgical church as a young kid and had no desire to return.
But I have felt this nudging from the Lord, especially as I read the Psalms and the Minor Prophets. The Sabbath as a day for rest and short Sabbaths throughout every day have been practiced for millennia as rules of life or spiritual disciplines that help us grow in holiness. Daniel carried more responsibility than I will ever dream of yet consistently rested before the Lord three times every day. Do I really think I am busier or more important than he was?
I am working at slowly changing and seeking to develop a new rule of life, a regular practice that I hope someday soon will become the norm for me without even really thinking about it. I break the day into morning, noon, and night, wherever I am, pausing to listen to Him, reflecting on what I have done, said, and thought. It is helping me get off the treadmill and reorienting me. Life is about Him, not me and my goals and plans. Perhaps, if I slow down enough and listen closely, I will hear what He has to say.
Ron Seabrooke is pastor of Outreach/Teaching at Wallenstein Bible Chapel in Wallenstein Ontario. www.wbconline.ca. Ron and his wife Win have been involved in ministry for over 25 years. They served as missionaries for 10 years in the Middle East and in church planting in Ontario before coming to WBC in 2006. Ron is currently working on his DMin in leadership at Tyndale University/College.